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Happy October

So, I gotta keep it real with y’all. October, November and December are my three favorite months of the year. Apple picking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…. I absolutely love them all. And I think it’s mostly because of the abundance of family activities, crafts and fun foods I get to make. I could probably due without the impending snow but hey, it comes with the territory right?

Before I fast forward to the days where I’ll have to stop Olivia from eating the white stuff that has been peed on by one of the neighborhood dogs or when Caiden tries to sword fight with icicles I’ll celebrate the present, the  magnificent Autumn days.

I had been promising the kiddos since the middle of September that we would make our cider “soon”, but as a parent “soon”  really means “I hope they eventually forget because I already have 99 million things to do.”

Honestly though, I was looking forward to making the first batch of cider. It makes my house smell soooo good and we make apple sauce with the remaining apples in the crock pot. I’m really excited to share this recipe with y’all because it’s apple season and who doesn’t enjoy a warm glass of cider. I think you’ll actually be surprised how easy it is. It just takes a long time, well worth the wait though. My recommendation is to use a variety of apples, some sweet, some tart. I usually use a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith AND surprise surprise, you’ll also be adding an orange to the mix!

HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium sized apples cut in eighths
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tsp ground cloves
  • Honey… adjust to taste. I personally don’t like a lot of honey, and only use a couple tbs but if you like your cider sweeter you can up to a half a cup

DIRECTIONS

Put all ingredients into your crockpot and add enough water to cover the fruit.
Cook on low for 7 hours (Or high for 3). I prefer to cook mine on the lower setting for longer. Don’t expect some scientific explanation as to why because all I can say is “because.” I think I learned that from my 4 year old.

At this point the fruit will be super soft. Grab your masher (or giant spoon if you don’t own a masher) and mash the fruit. This is the part that really releases the flavor and also the part where we get really excited because it’s almost done.

Let cider cook on low for 1 more hour

Now it’s time to strain! SLOWLY strain the cider through a fine mesh sieve, using a spoon to press down and squeeze out all the liquid into whatever you’ll be storing your cider in.

Serve warm or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Yea right…. like anything in my house lasts more than one week.

We like to use the remaining solid apples to make apple sauce. Just remove the peels and mash a little more.

My oldest daughter suggested that we make something Halloween related every day of October which I thought was a dope idea. It may not necessarily be edible but I’ll be posting pics every day on my Instagram. Last night we made apple cider floats (just put one scoop of the ice cream of your choice into a mug and add cider) and these cute little ghost brownies which were so simple to make, mainly because I took a shortcut (ugh I cringe thinking about all the added crap in em) and used already prepared brownies. I got the idea from Betty Crocker

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Overnight Oats

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If you are anything like me you will take advantage of any way you can to make mealtimes easier. Especially with such a big family, it’s always chaos. ESPECIALLY  when in the middle of cooking somebody decides to tell me they need help with homework that they said they finished last night or the baby wants me to literally watch her while she gets her “poopies” out. Oh and did I mention that I turn into a short order cook on omelette day……no cheese, only cheese, with more veggies, hold the sausage, bacon on the side…..and I’m not even getting paid for this, unless you count the hugs and kisses I get that leave peanut butter on my cheek and jelly stains on the back of my shirt. So, when I find a recipe that allows me to prepare the night before I’m all over it. It is so much easier to fix breakfast while the kids are sleep….or pretending to be sleep.

Since we’ve been really big on healthy eating I thought this recipe was perfect and it allowed room for variation so my picky kids would be happy! Everybody in the house LOVES oatmeal so I knew this would be a winner. I made two different flavors (blueberry banana and apple cinnamon) but I’m anxious to try more. I’m sure my kids will get a kick out of helping me come up with flavor combinations…..as long as they don’t include ketchup…..which is currently banned from this household…..long story!!

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BLUEBERRY BANANA OVERNIGHT OATS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (do NOT use instant or quick cooking)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3-4 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 a banana sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS

Okay, this is where it gets super technical and requires a great amount of skill (sarcasm)

Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar. I used a larger jar for the amount that I made….enough to feed three  kids, but if you want to reduce the service size you can use a regular size jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning add some fresh banana slices and blueberries. I also like adding a little granola!!


APPLE CINNAMON OVERNIGHT OATS

So you basically follow the same recipe as above except for a few slight changes. Instead of honey you will use 3-4 tsp brown sugar and your fruit will be diced apples, about a 1/2 cup. Also you will add 4 tsp of cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning add some fresh apple slices and a couple dashes of cinnamon!!